William Nathan Hockett, known variously as Baseball Billy, Wild Bill, Bill, and Papa, was born on July 31, 1954, at the naval hospital in Oakland, California, where his Navy father the late Nathan "Junior" Lester Hockett, Jr., and his adventuresome mother Ruby Dolores Reddell were stationed. We thought he'd outlive the redwoods, but he passed away at home surrounded by family on January 2, 2022, just as he lived--which was also how he liked to drive: too fast, a few surprises, a wreck or two along the way, and gettin' there while the gettin's good. He was the oldest of three, which is probably part of why he was so ornery--keeping his little brother Rick and his little sister Linda in line sometimes involved the need for stitches, given to them or doled out on their behalf. No doubt his lifelong friend and other brother, Mac Griffin, sure contributed to the orneriness too, though most of Mac's stories of growing up with Bill come from the perspective of an innocent observer. (We know better.) \n\nBefore Bill's first birthday, Junior and Ruby moved to Sublette, Kansas, where he spent most of his childhood. They spent some time in Oklahoma where he attended a small country school, as well as a year in Illinois before coming back to Sublette, where Bill graduated high school. He attended one semester at Seward County Community College, and claimed advanced degrees and highest accolades from the School of Hard Knocks. \n\nEarly in life, he worked as a bag-boy and butcher at the family-run Myers Market in Sublette, Kansas, where he and Mac cleaned, waxed, and polished the floors every Saturday night after closing (when Mac claims they drank a beer and had summer sausage only one time--sure). There, Bill also learned every cut of beef--though our favorite cut that he butchered and cooked was one he made up: the Yum-Yums. He then worked at the Jayhawk Oil and Gas Company, where he was a chief operator. He held that job when he met and--in 1981--married his wife Janice Leigh Brollier, who he knew he should marry from a God-dream and probably also the pie she broke into his house to give him since he wasn't picking up on more subtle hints of her interest. The 40th anniversary of their wedding will be on March 7.\n\nBill was also a life-long cowboy. In his earlier years at his and Janice's farm--the Cimmaron River Ranch--Bill was often booted up to round the cattle on horse-back or buck hay bales in his red chaps. There, he also helped Janice sow, weed, and harvest their massive garden; he farmed corn, wheat, milo, and soybeans; and he went kitty-hunting with their daughters, which--contrary to how it sounded when he chuckled mischievously about it to his friends--involved not actually hunting cats but cruising the country in his old truck looking for stray kitties to adopt to the barn. Out on the farm, he and Janice raised and home schooled the girls, where he especially helped teach in math, science, basketball, bike-riding, and novel aphorisms that we think he made up but of which he asked, "You mean you never heard that before?" \n\nOut at the farm and after they sold it and moved to Liberal, Kansas, Bill and Janice also adopted strays of the human variety. Their home was always open as refuge to folks who needed a place to stay for a few weeks or a few years. In fact, Bill was a bit of a sucker for helping people--Mom shudders to think how much money he spent buying popcorn and discount cards from kids trawling the neighborhood for school fundraisers, and he often extended rent deadlines month after month for folks in tight situations on the rentals he managed with his business partner Richard Farrar. He and Richard started off as REALTORS(r) (and yes, it was capitalized with the registered trademark every time he said it) together at Coldwell Banker, which they bought and renamed Landmark Real Estate Center, LLC. Bill was invested in his community in many other ways: in addition to helping people find places to live, Bill served as a Kansas Association of REALTORS(r) Director at the state level to represent the Southwest Kansas Board of Realtors--he sat in on budgeting meetings and was a specialist in the REALTORS(r) Political Action Committee where he was involved in governmental affairs for realty at the state level and brought back information to the local level. Bill served as an Elder for many years at Christian Life Center, where he helped administer and was active in many of the church's outreach ministries. He was an appointed member of the Liberal Metropolitan Area Planning Commission & Board of Zoning Appeals. He dusted off his cowboy boots for the Seward County PRCA Rodeo, which he helped organize and promote. He enjoyed attending the Liberal Bee Jays baseball games, Liberal Redskins football games, and Saints basketball games. His investment wasn't motivated by recognition, but because he cared about people and wanted the job done right. \n\nBill was preceded in death by his father Junior, and before that by the family dog--a Golden Retriever named Samantha who a neighbor sold to Bill and had him come pick up in a night rainstorm so Dad wouldn't see she was blind in one eye until inspection the next morning. He was happy with the addition to the family, though, as Sam took care of us girls when we played out in the pasture--and that's what was most important to Dad: taking care of his family. "That's why God put us on Earth," Dad reminded us while he was in the hospital. And we knew it, because he'd spent his life taking care of us; we were so glad to be by his side in the fast and arduous last month of his life to take care of him. \n\nNow taking care of each other are his wife, Janice Hockett of Liberal, KS; his dog, Sidney "Sid" Rae Vicious; two daughters, Jubilee Davis (Lance Silva) of Nacogdoches, TX, and Jericho Hockett (Eddy Van Vleet) of Topeka, KS; his grandchildren, Simon, Susannah (Susi), and Halle Davis and Evelynn Van Vleet; his mother, Ruby Hockett of Collinsville, OK; his brother, Rick Hockett of Tahlequah, OK; his sister, Linda Viera (Nef Viera) of Sublette, KS; and many friends and colleagues.\n\nAs per Bill's wishes, his remains were cremated and no public services will take place. If you would like to make a contribution in his memory, please make checks payable to Seward County Rodeo Association in care of Weeks Family Funeral Home & Crematory, PO Box 1200, Sublette, Ks 67877. To share a memory of Bill or express your condolences to his family, please visit WeeksFamilyFuneralHome.com \nTo send flowers to the family of William Nathan Hockett, please visit our Heartfelt Sympathies Store.